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Prep Friday : Division VIII Football Championships : The Stakes Reach New Level as Friendly Rivalry Renewed

Times Staff Writer

Quarterbacks David Lowery of Trabuco Hills High School and Fred Schweer of Woodbridge became friends when they were paired up at a football camp last summer.

They are quick to point out that they are only casual friends. “It’s just like a hi-bye type of thing,” Lowery said. “I mean, I don’t go to his house or anything like that.”

“I don’t really talk to him much,” Schweer said. “But we are not enemies, I don’t think. I see him around town and say ‘Hi,’ but we don’t go out and stuff.”

Yes, for a while the two were like ships that pass in the night. They would bump into each other around town after bumping into defenders at football practice.

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But after a November rendezvous to decide the Pacific Coast League title and with tonight’s meeting to determine the Southern Section Division VIII champion, people are saying they’ve got to stop meeting like this.

In the earlier meeting, Trabuco Hills upset defending division champion Woodbridge, 17-13, to end the Warriors’ 13-game winning streak--at the time the longest in Orange County. The teams shared the league title.

Tonight, the stakes are higher.

The two quarterbacks, considered among the county’s best, will lead their teams into the Division VIII championship game at 7:30 at Mission Viejo High School.

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“In the back of our minds we wanted to play them again in the finals,” Schweer said. “This is perfect. This is storybook. Everything is in place for us to do what we want to do.”

At the camp Lowery told Schweer that they probably would play for the league championship in the last game of the regular season.

“We had no idea we would be playing twice and for the Southern Section title,” Lowery said.

Call it fate, destiny or chance, but Schweer and Lowery will be getting to know one another one more time.

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In many respects the two aren’t very different, said Bill Cunerty, who coached them this summer at his quarterback-receiver camp at Saddleback College.

“They are both on the quiet side, not screamer-yellers,” he said. “They are the type who would rather just lead by doing.”

What Cunerty remembers most about the two was their curiosity about the passing game.

“It is kind of neat when the guys ask questions about concepts, not just plays,” he said. “When they ask why things work because of what the defense is doing.”

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They both have impressive passing statistics.

Lowery has completed 200 of 364 passes for 3,085 yards and 26 touchdowns in leading Trabuco Hills to an 11-2 record. Lowery ended the regular season with 2,172 yards. He passed for 913 yards and 10 touchdowns in 3 playoff victories over Yucaipa (49-6), Santa Paula (42-6) and Atascadero (42-7).

Schweer has completed 189 of 348 passes for 2,364 yards and 15 touchdowns, and Woodbridge is 12-1. He had 1,700 yards in the regular season, but passed for 632 yards and 6 touchdowns in 3 playoff victories over Cabrillo (31-14), Santa Clara (34-14) and Agoura (21-0).

Against Agoura, with running backs Scott Seymour and Mike Yurkovich injured early, Schweer completed 12 of 26 passes for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns.

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The obvious difference between the two is size.

Schweer, at 6 feet 3 inches and 190 pounds, is 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than Lowery.

Their styles differ, too. Lowery drops back quickly, keeping his arm cocked. He is ready to throw or roll out.

Schweer is a dropback passer who rarely strays from the pocket. His throws have gone beyond zing to sting.

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“A lot of times when you roll a person out, it is so he can get a little extra on the ball,” Woodbridge Coach Rick Gibson said. “He (Schweer) doesn’t need to do that. He has what the scouts call a major college arm. The ball gets from point A to point B real fast.”

Schweer took Woodbridge to the championship last year, defeating Chaminade, 13-10, in the title game of what was then the Desert-Mountain Conference.

Lowery is in his first season as starting quarterback. Last year, he was busy batting down passes and blitzing quarterbacks from his strong safety position.

“It helped me a lot because I know all the defensive back coverages,” he said. “It has gotten me a little bit tougher. On defense you are constantly hitting.”

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Schweer and the rest of the Warriors are still smarting over the loss to Trabuco Hills in the last regular-season game.

The Trabuco Hills’ defense limited Schweer to 11 of 23 passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns.

“We were favored,” Schweer said. “They were going to be in third or tied for first (based on the outcome). We were going to be first or tied for first. So they had more incentive to win. That is probably the only time a team wanted it more than us.”

There appears little chance of Trabuco Hills being complacent because of its earlier victory.

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“Everybody acts like it was kind of a fluke that we beat them,” Trabuco Hills Coach Jim Barnett said. “The first game didn’t seem to prove much. . . . I think we are motivated because people already have predicted that Woodbridge will beat us this time.

“We are kind of the Rodney Dangerfield of high school football. We won all three playoff games by about five touchdowns, but unless we beat Woodbridge again--just no respect.”

HOW THEY MATCH UP

November 10: Regular-season finale

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Player Att Cp Yds TD Schweer 23 11 93 0 Lowery 24 10 159 0 Totals: 13 games Schweer 348 189 2,364 15 Lowery 364 200 3,085 26


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